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Special Report

Molecular Science in the News

(For more information on the below articles, a subscription to the newspaper (and journal) may be required)

Wednesday April 23, 2014

  • Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye': "A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision. Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a "bionic eye," he's regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.…" (Mike Householder, Associated Press)
  • Study Linking Illness and Salt Leaves Researchers Doubtful: "The former commissioner of health for New York City, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, has raised anew questions about the health risks posed by salt in the American diet, citing a new study from Britain showing…." (Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times)
  • Decision-making input linked to more satisfied cancer patients: "Regardless of whether cancer patients sought to be involved in decisions about their treatment, those who were ended up more satisfied with their care, according to a recent study (Cancer). On the other hand, patients who didn't get to share in the decision process were twice as likely to report…" (Allison Bond, Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia reports 11 new cases of MERS virus, first in Mecca: "Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had discovered 11 more cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including what appeared to be the first case in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.…" (Maha El Dahan, Reuters)
  • High-fat diets linked to some types of breast cancer: "Women who eat a lot of fat, particularly saturated fat, may be at higher risk of certain types of breast cancer, new research suggests. Past studies have come to differing conclusions on a possible association between dietary fat and breast cancer. Whether the two are even linked at all remains controversial. The new report (Journal of the National Cancer Institute), a second analysis of a large, long-term study, suggests that fat may play a role in the development of certain forms of the disease but not others.…" (Genevra Pittman, Reuters)
  • Not all older adults want emergency stroke drug: study: "About one-quarter of older adults would not want to receive clot-busting medication for a stroke if they arrived at the hospital unable to make the decision themselves, a new survey (JAMA) found. The medication, tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, typically does not save a patient's life following a stroke. But people who receive tPA or similar drugs tend to have better mental functioning after a stroke and.…" (Genevra Pittman, Reuters)
  • FDA proposes program to speed approval of medical devices: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday proposed speeding up medical device approvals for patients who have no other treatment options through a new program focused on earlier and more frequent interactions between companies and FDA staff. The Expedited Access Premarket Approval Application program is a response.…" (Esha Dey and Susan Kelly, Reuters)
  • Bay Area Research Round-Up: PREGNANCY: Mom's weight gain, infant obesity linked (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology); PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS: Higher drug prices tied to free samples (JAMA Dermatology); TONSILLECTOMIES: No link with child obesity found (JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery); STEM CELLS: Experimental spinal cord therapy study (American Spinal Injury Association Annual Meeting); ANIMAL STUDIES: Altered mice seen as lifesavers (PLOS Medicine); AUTISM: Home videos may help in diagnosing kids (PLOS One);….(Victoria Colliver, Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Long way to go to meet health benchmarks for 2020: "Over the past few years more Americans have been getting vaccines and cancer screenings and meeting exercise guidelines. But we're still about as obese as we were in 2010 - plus, adults binge-drink just as often and teens smoke just as much. And these days, fewer of us have clean teeth. The findings come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Healthy People 2020 initiative, which set health, fitness and nutrition goals for the U.S. population in 2010. This month the department released a status report on the first third of the 10-year initiative....…" (Kathryn Roethel, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Deal Flurry Shows Drug Makers' Swing Toward Specialization: "A new flurry of drug deals shows how the global pharmaceutical industry is reversing course, as companies narrow their focus after decades of diversifying their drug portfolios. Swiss drug giant Novartis AG and the U.K.'s GlaxoSmithKline PLC on Tuesday were the latest to illustrate that about-face, announcing more than $20 billion in deals. Novartis will sell its animal-drugs business to Eli Lilly & Co. and most of its vaccine..…" (Jonathan D. Rockoff, Jeanne Whalen and Marta Falconi, Wall Street Journal)

Tuesday April 22, 2014

  • Anxiety from a false-positive mammogram is real but temporary, study says: "A healthy woman has a routine mammogram to check for signs of breast cancer, and the results aren’t normal. Her doctors run further tests, such as additional imaging or a biopsy. Ultimately, she gets a clean bill of health. But what is the emotional cost of this false-positive result? This is the question that researchers try to answer in a study published online Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine. The authors examined data from a large clinical trial of digital mammography and concluded.…." (Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times)
  • Looking at Costs and Risks, Many Skip Health Insurance: "Steve Huber, an affable salesman who is still paying off an unexpected medical bill, was not among the millions of Americans who signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the enrollment period that ended March 31.…." (Abby Goodnough, New York Times)
  • An Apple a Day, and Other Myths: "A trip to almost any bookstore or a cruise around the Internet might leave the impression that avoiding cancer is mostly a matter of watching what you eat. One source after another promotes the protective powers of “superfoods,” rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals, or advises readers to emulate the diets of Chinese peasants or Paleolithic cave dwellers.…." (George Johnson, New York Times)
  • Brain-Mapping Milestones:"As the Brain Initiative announced by President Obama a year ago continues to set priorities and gear up for what researchers hope will be a decade-long program to understand how the brain works, two projects independent of that effort reached milestones in their brain mapping work..…." (James Gorman, New York Times)
  • Brain Control in a Flash of Light: "Dr. Karl Deisseroth is having a very early breakfast before the day gets going at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Thirty thousand people who study the brain are here at the Convention Center, a small city’s worth of badge-wearing, networking, lecture-attending scientists.…." (James Gorman, New York Times)
  • Cancer Vaccine Proves Effective in H.I.V. Patients: "Vaccines against cervical cancer work well even in sexually active women with H.I.V., a new study (Clinical Infectious Diseases) has found. It also found that women who already have one or two strains of the cancer-causing virus can be protected against others.…." (Donald G. McNeil, Jr., New York Times)
  • Appendicitis without surgery may be safe option for some kids: "Children with simple cases of appendicitis may be safely treated with antibiotics instead of surgery, suggests a new study (Journal of the American College of Surgeons). Forgoing surgery to remove the appendix may not be an option for all kids, researchers say, but just three of 30 children who tried the antibiotics-only route ended up needing surgery.…." (Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters)
  • Mother's low vitamin D linked to toddler's risk of cavities: "Women's low vitamin D levels during pregnancy are linked to a higher risk of cavities in the teeth of their toddlers, according to a new study (Pediatrics) done in Canada. Previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency among mothers can lead to defects in the enamel of their toddlers' teeth - which have already begun to develop in the womb - and that these defects can increase the risk of tooth decay.…." (Will Boggs, Reuters)
  • Scientists link two genes to inflammatory bowel disease: "More than 1.4 million Americans suffer from the painful symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, a group of disorders, like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, resulting from chronic inflammation of the intestines. There is currently no cure for these conditions, but scientists hope a new discovery (American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology) into the genetic origins of the disease can eventually help alleviate the pain of IBD sufferers..…." (Brooks Hays, United Press International)
  • Hospitals pushing faster stroke care get better results: "Hospitals that make an all-out push for faster stroke care get a clot-busting medication to patients more quickly, prevent more in-hospital deaths and are able to send more survivors straight home, rather than to a nursing facility, a new study(JAMA) shows..…." (Kim Painter, USA Today)
  • A Top Hospital Opens Up to Chinese Herbs as Medicines; Evidence is lacking that herbs are effective: "Christina Lunka appeared nervous and excited as she sat in the Chinese herbal therapy center recently opened by the Cleveland Clinic. The 49-year-old had been to many doctors seeking help for ongoing issues that included joint pain and digestive problems. Now the Kirtland, Ohio, resident was hoping to find relief through herbal remedies.…." (Sumanthi Reddy, Wall Street Journal)
  • Bionics to Track Your Health: "Imagine a digital tattoo that transmits skin temperature; a transparent sensor on a contact lens that tests for glaucoma; a pliable pacemaker wrapped around a beating heart; and an implant that controls pain after surgery, then dissolves harmlessly when it is no longer needed. Each one is an experiment under way today in the biophysics of personal medicine…." (Robert Lee Hotz, Wall Street Journal)

Monday April 21, 2014

  • Health Law Fund-Raising Is Detailed: " The Government Accountability Office provided new details on Sunday of how the Obama administration raised money from outside organizations to promote enrollment in health insurance under the health care law..…" (Robert Pear, The New York Times)
  • ER trips for kids' pain and coughs often end with codeine: "Despite recommendations against the use of codeine in children, a new study (Pediatrics) found many emergency room doctors still give the potentially dangerous opioid to kids, such as for pain and coughs..…" (Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters)
  • Saudi Arabia announces jump in new cases of deadly MERS virus: "Saudi Arabia confirmed 20 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)on Saturday and Sunday, adding up to 49 infections in six days, a sudden increase of a disease that kills about a third of the people infected and has no cure...…" (Angus McDowall, Reuters)
  • Kraft recalls 96,000 pounds of hot dogs due to undeclared allergen : "Kraft Foods Group Inc is recalling about 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners because the packages may instead contain Classic Cheese Dogs made with milk, a known allergen..…" (Supriya Kurane, Reuters)
  • Survey finds Americans largely optimistic about science: "Americans are generally optimistic about the future of science and technology, though they're concerned about some of the details, according to a new poll by the Washington-based Pew Research Center....…" (Karen Weintraub, USA Today)
  • Spring allergy relief: Here's what to try first: "Sneezing, congestion, runny noses and itchy eyes. For people with seasonal nasal allergies — commonly known as hay fever — these symptoms are nothing new. They are as predictable as the explosion of tree pollen happening now in many parts of the country and the bursts of grass and ragweed pollens still to come......…" (Kim Painter, USA Today)
  • A saliva test for pot use? Mich. lawmakers may enact one : ".Michigan could become the first state to adopt a roadside saliva test for marijuana impairment if legislators pass a bill introduced in both the state House and Senate. A bipartisan group of Michigan legislators is pushing saliva testing and Michigan State Police are championing it. But researchers who have studied the test method said results are inconsistent and especially misleading when applied to regular users of cannabis.....…" (Bill Laitner, USA Today)
  • Once in limbo, promising new muscular dystrophy drug back on track toward approval: "A new drug designed to slow the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a devastating disease that overwhelmingly affects boys and typically leaves them needing wheelchairs by their teens and dead in their 20s, has received a long-awaited boost from the Food and Drug Administration.....…" (Brady Dennis, Washington Post )

Friday April 18, 2014

  • Salmonella decline seen in food poisoning report: "The government's latest report card on food poisoning shows a dip in salmonella cases but an increase in illnesses from bacteria in raw shellfish. The report (MMWR) counts cases in only 10 states for some of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends..…" (Mike Stobbe, Associated Press)
  • To quash depression, some brain cells must push through the stress: "The nature of psychological resilience has, in recent years, been a subject of enormous interest to researchers, who have wondered how some people endure and even thrive under a certain amount of stress, and others crumble and fall prey to depression. The resulting research has underscored the importance of feeling socially connected and the value of psychotherapy to identify and exercise patterns of thought that protect against hopelessness and defeat. But what does psychological resilience look like inside our brains, at the cellular level? Such knowledge might help bolster peoples' immunity to depression and even treat people under chronic stress. And a new study published Thursday in Science..…" (Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times)
  • Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors: "Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care. The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent..…" (Andrew Pollack, New York Times)
  • Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act: "President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability...…" (Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear, New York Times)
  • Exclusive: Biogen prices hemophilia drug on par with older therapies: "Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly approved long-acting hemophilia drug, Alprolix, to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually...…" (Bill Berkrot, Reuters)
  • Flavored cigars appeal to youth: study: "Young people are smoking fewer cigarettes these days, but their cigar use is rising, which may partly be due to the popularity of flavored cigars, according to a new study (Tobacco Control)...…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • USDA will require reporting of killer piglet virus PEDv: "In an expected move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday announced new measures to combat the spread of disease in the U.S. pig population.The agency said it would require reporting of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which has killed millions of piglets over the past year, and the Swine Delta Coronavirus..…" (Ros Krasny, Reuters)
  • Merck's ragweed pollen allergy drug gets U.S. approval: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Merck & Co's pollen allergy drug Ragwitek. The tablet, which is administered by placing it under the tongue, is to treat the short ragweed pollen induced allergic rhinitis..…" (Shailesh Kuber, Reuters)
  • Info may prompt seniors to taper off sleeping pills: "Older people are willing and able to get themselves off medications like sleeping pills once they're informed of the potential harms, according to a new Canadian study (JAMA Internal Medicine). "Even among patients who have been taking sleeping pills for 30 years, many of them in their 80s and 90s were able to get off the sleeping pills once they realized that these pills could cause..…" (Anne Harding, Reuters)
  • About 12 million U.S. outpatients misdiagnosed annually: study: "Roughly 12 million adults who visit U.S. doctors' offices and other outpatient settings, or one in 20, are misdiagnosed every year, a new study has found, and half of those errors could lead to serious harm. The study by a team of Texas-based researchers attempted to estimate how often diagnostic errors occur in outpatient settings such as doctors' offices and clinics, as exact figures don't exist. The team's study will be published this month in the British medical journal BMJ Quality & Safety..…" (Curtis Skinner, Reuters)
  • Childhood bullying can cause problems decades later: "Chances are some people still remember the name of that bully who stole their lunch money or pushed them down the stairs 30 years ago. While the psychological effects of bullying in adolescence are well documented, a new study published Thursday in The American Journal of Psychiatry shows harmful effects can extend decades after the initial bullying...…" (Mary Bowerman, USA Today)
  • FDA Advises Against Morcellator Use in Hysterectomies; Citing Cancer Risks, Overseer Discourages Use of Morcellators to Remove Uterine Growths: "Federal regulators advised doctors Thursday to stop using a surgical device used in tens of thousands of hysterectomies each year, citing its potential to spread cancer. The move by the Food and Drug Administration could change the way many women are treated for common but often painful growths in the uterus known as symptomatic fibroids, which..…" (Jon Kamp and Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal)
  • Scientists Make First Embryo Clones From Adults: Advancement Could Lead to Treatment for Alzheimer's, Heart Disease: "Scientists for the first time have cloned cells from two adults to create early-stage embryos, and then derived tissue from those embryos that perfectly matched the DNA of the donors. The experiment represents another advance in the quest to make tissue in the laboratory that could treat a range of maladies, from heart attacks to Alzheimer's. The study, involving a 35-year-old man and one age 75, was published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell..…" (Gautam Naik, Wall Street Journal)

Thursday April 17, 2014

  • Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain: "The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain - evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report (New England Journal of Medicine)…" (Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press)
  • Free samples of prescription drugs are costly to patients, study says: "Free samples of prescription drugs may seem like a great deal for patients. But even when doctors think they’re doing patients a favor by handing out the freebies, the real beneficiaries are the drug manufacturers, according to new research in the journal JAMA Dermatology…" (Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times)
  • For Diabetics, Health Risks Fall Sharply: "Federal researchers on Wednesday reported the first broad national picture of progress against some of the most devastating complications of diabetes, which affects millions of Americans, finding that rates of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations fell sharply over the past two decades. The biggest declines were in the rates of heart attacks and deaths from high blood sugar, which dropped by more than 60 percent from 1990 to 2010, the period studied. While researchers had had patchy indications that outcomes were improving for diabetic patients in recent years, the study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine…" (Sabrina Tavernise and Denise Grady, New York Times)
  • New kind of trial aims to speed cancer drug development: "Scientists and drugmakers are pioneering a new kind of clinical trial that changes the way cancer drugs are studied, potentially cutting both the time and cost of bringing them to market…" (Ben Hirschler, Reuters)
  • California makes it harder for insurers to deny autism treatment: "California on Wednesday made it harder for health insurers to deny or delay coverage of key interventions for children with autism, the latest in an ongoing series of actions by U.S. states to help families obtain the expensive therapies.…" (Sharon Bernstein, Reuters)
  • Reports of e-cigarette injury jump amid rising popularity, U.S. data show: "Complaints of injury linked to e-cigarettes, from burns and nicotine toxicity to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, have jumped over the past year as the devices become more popular, the most recent U.S. data show…" (Toni Clarke, Reuters)
  • Death toll from Guinea Ebola outbreak rises to 122: "The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in Guinea has risen to 122, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday, a sharp increase from a previous figure of 108…" (David Lewis, Reuters)
  • Dengue outbreak at Australian detention centre sparks fresh concerns: "An outbreak of dengue fever at an Australian refugee detention center in the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru sparked calls on Thursday for greater oversight at the facility, which has been criticized by rights groups and the United Nations…" (Matt Siegel, Reuters)
  • Pill developed to fight measles passes key test in animals: "Scientists have developed an experimental pill that helped protect ferrets from a measles-like virus, raising hope for a treatment to thwart the deadly infection in unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the virus, according to an international study (Science Translational Medicine)…" (Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters)
  • Kitchens could be sources of drug-resistant bacteria: "Cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry may be an important source of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital kitchens and private homes, according to a new study (Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology)…" (Kathryn Doyle, Reuters)
  • Ohio mumps outbreak grows: "The mumps outbreak in central Ohio now totals 225 cases, state health officials in Columbus reported late Tuesday…" (Michelle Healy, USA Today)
  • USA ranks far above Western allies in medical costs: " A new report shows that American medical procedures and medications continue to far out-cost those of other Western nations, even when comparing only private care…" (Kelly Kennedy, USA Today)

More Molecular Science in the News >

Breaking News


New Resources on

  • dbGaP: The database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) was developed to archive and distribute the results of studies that have investigated the interaction of genotype and phenotype.
  • Personal Genome Project UK: Personal Genome Project UK: Almost all current public data from PGP sites is from the Harvard site. As new sites grow we expect to share more data from around the world.
  • Harvard PGP Data: In addition to whole genome sequencing, the Harvard PGP has a variety of donated genetic data (ranging from externally-performed genomes and exomes to direct-to-consumer genotyping).
  • E-Bug: A place for children, teens, and adults to play games and learn about microbes.
  • 100K Food Pathogen Project: In the Genome Project for Food Pathogens project, FDA has partnered with U.C. Davis and Agilent to map the DNA of 100,000 pathogen strains to stop foodborne illness outbreaks faster.
  • Cellminer: CellMiner™ is a web application generated by the Genomics & Bioinformatics Group, LMP, CCR, NCI that facilitates systems biology through the retrieval and integration of the molecular and pharmacological data sets for the NCI-60 cell lines. The NCI-60, a panel of 60 diverse human cancer cell lines used by the Developmental Therapeutics Program of the U.S. National Cancer Institute to screen over 100,000 chemical compounds and natural products (since 1990)
  • BAM files: Index of /projects/nci60/wes/BAMS/
  • DTP Drug Screen: The In Vitro Cell Line Screening Project (IVCLSP) is a dedicated service providing direct support to the DTP anticancer drug discovery program.
  • DTP Molecular Targets: Thousands of molecular targets have been measured in the NCI panel of 60 human tumor cell lines. Measurements include protein levels, RNA measurements, mutation status and enzyme activity levels. You can choose to search for a target of interest, or you may browse through a list of targets. Follow the links for a target to retrieve the 60 cell line data (either text or graphical), to run COMPARE (find Targets or Compounds whose patterns correlate with a Target of interest) and to link to various databases with information (function, sequences, disease associations) about the target
  • Influenza Primer Design Resource: A program from Medical College of Wisconsin designed to aid researchers in translating the vast amounts of influenza sequence information into highly effective influenza diagnostics. IPDR consists of a database of all influenza nucleotide sequences and variety of bioinformatic analyses that aid in the development of primers and probes that can be used in diagnostic assays

Other Purdue News and Websites

    Bindley Bioscience Center
    Bindley Bioscience Center Organization

  • News: Bindley II exterior to be completed Fall 2013
  • Bindley Biosciences Center (BBC): The Bindley Bioscience Center provides a unique infrastructure to support interdisciplinary research. Laboratory space and high-end equipment is shared and available to support diverse projects ranging from cancer and other complex diseases to technology development and to creation of new feedstocks and catalysts for biofuels production. An expert staff provides research consultation and technical support to enable rapid and effective technology implementation, feasibility studies, and creation of pilot data in support of new project ideas. Research core support services operate in conjunction with original research projects as illustrated in the schematic to the left. See Flyer for more information about the facility
  • Bindley Bioscience Center New Strategic Plan